Palace or­ders DA to fo­cus on do­mes­tic mar­ket

Business World - - THE ECONOMY - Anna Gabriela A. Mogato

THE Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA) has been or­dered by Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo R. Duterte to fo­cus on meet­ing do­mes­tic de­mand rather than de­vel­op­ing ex­ports.

Agri­cul­ture Un­der­sec­re­tary for pol­icy and plan­ning Segfredo R. Ser­rano said that de­spite the op­ti­mistic out­look for global trade in early 2018, al­ter­na­tive strate­gies are be­ing con­sid­ered such as bring­ing in more tourists to in­crease do­mes­tic con­sump­tion of agri­cul­tural pro­duce.

Mr. Ser­rano said ex­port mar­kets are volatile, and fresh fruit is dif­fi­cult to trans­port and sell to cer­tain mar­kets.

“Our tar­get is a 10% in­crease in the vol­ume and value of ex­ports for the medium term. But, of course, the Pres­i­dent has in­structed us to con­cen­trate on serv­ing the do­mes­tic mar­ket,” he added.

“You can’t just keep on ex­port­ing when you have so many is­sues to solve in the do­mes­tic mar­ket. You need to im­prove the con­fi­dence of con­sumers par­tic­u­larly on safety and the avail­abil­ity of food sup­ply.”

Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Em­manuel F. Piñol said that ex­port plans for high-value crops like ca­cao and cof­fee are ham­pered by poor do­mes­tic yields.

Mr. Ser­rano said that the coun­try still has po­ten­tial in high-value prod­ucts. Co­conut prod­ucts, which are con­sid­ered low-value, re­main the coun­try’s top agri­cul­tural ex­port.

Ac­cord­ing to the Philip­pine Statis­tics Au­thor­ity, agri­cul­ture­based ex­ports fell 61.71% year on year in De­cem­ber to $150.40 mil­lion.

Mr. Ser­rano said that un­der the new pol­icy di­rec­tion, the model might be Thai­land, where the highly de­vel­oped tourist in­dus­try pro­vides a boost to the do­mes­tic con­sump­tion of Philip­pine prod­ucts.

“If you sub­stan­tially in­crease the tourist ar­rivals, what­ever you pro­duce here won’t be ex­ported,” he added.

“You can sell your goods within your bor­ders. The farm­ers won’t have to worry about lo­gis­tics or quar­an­tine.”

AFP

A FARMER gath­ers freshly har­vested cof­fee cher­ries at his plan­ta­tion in the town of Amadeo, Cavite. Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Em­manuel F. Piñol said that ex­port plans for high-value crops like ca­cao and cof­fee are ham­pered by poor do­mes­tic yields.

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